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Kagemusha (Criterion Collection)


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  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu, Hideji Ôtaki
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Masato Ide
  • Producers: Akira Kurosawa, Audie Bock, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: Criterion
  • Release Date: March 29 2005
  • Run Time: 162 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005JLEJ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,423 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Noctem on June 28 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Kagemusha is another entry in Kurosawa's decades-long string of Samurai movies and is replet with rank-n-file anti-war themes: empires are fleeting, stubborn pride proves costly, and human life is cheap. Although not without its problems in pacing and stiffness, it is better than some of his more famous films, though no where near as good as Ran. The plot: The warlord Shingen is mortally wounded whilst besieging a fortress. His dying wish is that his dynasty continue. This is accomplished by using an impersonator, Kagemusha (Tatsuya Nakadai), who is a thief with humble ancestry. Kagemusha serves as Shingen's stand-in for three years, improving morale and even helping to win battles. The most impressive feature in Kagemush is the photography along with the splendid costumes. Indeed, outstanding cinematography and convincing sets are a familiar hallmark for Kurosawa. While one can hardly fault the films character development, for a war film, the pace is slow -- very slooow. Kagemusha was an expensive film by Japanese standards, and Kurosawa had alienated himself from Japanese studios with his cutting comments about their uncompromising attitude towards fimmaking. So unfortunatley (and ironically), he turned to the crass commerical master himself, George Lucas (as well as Francis Ford Coppola). Both are credited as executive producers for the "international" version of Kagemusha. Kagemusha was nominated for two Academy Awards, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Art Direction.
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By jamesbonds on March 23 2010
Format: DVD
This double-dvd shows you the genious and passion of Akira Kirasawa on Disc 2. I suggest viewing the second disc before watching the movie. It will enhance your appreciation for the movie as 'art'. Kirasawa the 'painter'and artist (visionary)can be seen on Disc 2. Then while watching the movie you will see his paintings come to life. One learns a little something of the creative proccess of creating a great movie by so doing . JR
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Format: VHS Tape
Just before "Ran," Kurosawa got American funding for this movie about a "shadow warrior" who was assigned to impersonate Takeda Shingen should he die. This was to keep the Takeda clan's border secure and prevent enemies (of which Takeda had many) from invading. It is a wonderful film, and has two very strong points: the visuals, and the characters.
The strong visuals should be obvious - an Akira Kurosawa film with no strong visuals is like a Monet painting with poor use of color. The battle scenes are stunning and seem to come out of a nightmare, with rifleman shooting down on soldiers with a bright light flashing behind them. The colored armor of Takeda's men were also nicely picked and, as Kurosawa would later do with "Ran", give their presense a hauntingly beautiful yet horrifying tone. The final scene at the Battle of Nagashino (which was wrongfully nitpicked in Stephen Turnbull's Osprey book of the battle) chooses to show us only the aftermath of the battle, with shots of cavalry charging to the gunners and then cutting to the horrified expressions of those who watch the unfolding massacre of Japan's greatest army. The shot of the fields of dead is some thing that could only have come out of the nightmare of war.
I think the strongest part of the film, though, were the characters. The film has a slew of fascinating characters, from Takeda's generals (each with their own personality) right down to the rifleman who shot Takeda. Even the spies from Oda and Tokugawa interact and talk like real people, and I can't think of any one in this film I easily forget. I especially liked Oda Nobunaga, and I think this film has the best portrayal I've ever seen of him. He can be seen walking out with his army and stopping briefly to listen to a Christian priest give a prayer.
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By A Customer on Nov. 30 2002
Format: VHS Tape
Regardless of its length and broad assumption that viewers will have some understanding of sixteenth century Japanese feudal systems, this remains Kurosawa's best film - better, even, than 'Ran'. This is a director whose entire catalogue often pivots on imagery and metaphor, but what sets this film apart is the sheer mastery of its cinematography and incomparable attention to detail; some might say lavish attention. The scenes with warriors passing across an orange sun as light filters through to the foreground, the scenes of warrior horsemen riding along a beach as dark clouds loom thunderously in the distance combine to evoke as few other films have done some real sense of the elegance and savagery that was the hallmark of feudal Japan.
In the case of 'Kagemusha' it will probably help if you are something of a film buff, but even those who aren't will probably be impressed with it on some level.
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Format: VHS Tape
This movie is based on three people 1. Takeda Shingen (Born 1521 - Died 1573),2.Oda Nobunaga (Born 1531 - Died 1582),and 3.Tokugawa Ieyasu (Born 1542 - Died 1616). The movie is set in 16th century Japan (Sengoku Era),Oda Nobunaga rules 'Kyoto' (Yamashiro Province) the throne of Japan,'Kyoto' orders Takeda Shingen to march to Kyoto to liberate the throne from the tyrant Oda Nobunaga. Oda Nobunaga who with 3,000 men defeated Imagawa Yoshimoto's 40,000 men in the battle of Okehazama in 1560 is seen as invincible and ronin warriors start to flock to his banner. In 1573,Oda Nobunaga's army grows from 3,000 to 50,000 men with Takeda Shingen's army at 30,000 men,Takeda Shingen's army beats off Oda Nobunaga's army effortlessly with ease on the road to Kyoto.Oda Nobunaga becomes panick stricken and tries to call a peace with the throne in Kyoto,while Oda Nobunaga helplessly watches his armies destroyed one after another. Tokugawa Ieyasu (an allie of Oda Nobunaga) entrenches himself at Hamamatsu Castle,and launches a calvery of 12,000 against Takeda Shingen's 30,000 men at 'Mikatagahara'(December 22,1573). Tokugawa Ieyasu loses 3,000 men,Takeda Shingen loses 300 men that day. Tokugawa Ieyasu's army runs back like whipped dogs back to the safety of Hamamatsu,watching helplessly as Takeda Shingen's army passes on by to the road to Kyoto. By a quirk of fate Takeda Shingen is shot by a sniper and dies later of lead poison,the Takeda clan keeps his death a secret for three years,meanwhile,Oda Nobunaga wonders why Takeda Shingen has laggard his attack not knowing Takeda Shingen died three years ago.
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